October 31, 2014

Read this Before any First Date.

first date feed birds

It’s the weekend. You’ve got a date. Congrats.

Since you probably have a few hours scheduled to overthink all the possible scenarios in which this meeting of souls could result, I’ll cut right to the chase.

Here are a few tips that I hope will alleviate some of the pressure to be a perfect human being on your excruciatingly stressful personality interview date.

The Law of Proportional Preparation

So, how much prep work should you do before a first date? I don’t mean remembering your date’s name or how many siblings she has. How much personal prep work needs to be done—working out, clothing, hair, make-up, general primping?

Before you freak out and plan your day around preparing for your date, remember the Law of Proportional Preparation: The amount of time and effort you spend getting yourself “perfect” for your date is directly proportional to how bad you’ll feel if things don’t work out.

Imagine how you’ll feel if you rush out and buy a $200 silk shirt or those fabulous “do me” heels for this date…and he turns out to be a dud. And if things do work out, and it turns out that you were a perfect match? You’ll feel great, sure, but then did you really need those primping props in the first place?

Keep it cool. Take a shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair. Look good. But don’t go overboard. The last thing you want is to come slouching home muttering under your breath, “Damn! I can’t believe I got my hair straightened for that guy!”

Translate Your Date

Body language is an instinctual reaction to how we feel about someone we’re interacting with, but it doesn’t have to be as obvious as throwing yourself at your date as soon as the cab door shuts.

Still, you may be unaware of how to read body language, so here are a few examples of open (inviting) and closed (deterring) body language that may help you translate your date.


  • Eye contact. Not creepy, but engaged and perhaps even slightly lingering.
  • Touching one’s hair/face/etc. If your date is unconsciously preening—smoothing his/her hair or touching his/her face—it’s a sure sign s/he’s interested.
  • Head-on body angle. If your date squares off and faces you when he speaks, he’s interested.
  • Mirroring. If your date mirrors your posture, it’s a very good sign she’s interested. If she takes a drink at the same time as you, for example, this is an excellent example of mirroring.


  • Avoiding eye contact. Either he’s bored or just not interested.
  • Arms crossed. It’s a closed sign, but it could also be insecurity, so don’t freak if this happens. Try to make her feel more comfortable.
  • Sideways body angle. Shifting away from you is an indication of requesting distance. Not serious, but something to look out for.
  • Elbow block. If you see him raise and arm across himself, with the hand touching a shoulder and elbow pointed at you, that is a sure sign of blocking you out.
  • Running from you as fast as possible. May or may not involve screaming. You get the picture. Grab a cab and pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir on the way home. You’ll need it.

The Third Date Rule

Anyone who’s been dating for a while knows about “The Third Date Rule.” In essence, it states that after three successful dates, it’s sex time.

Do yourself a favor: write this rule down on a piece of paper. Then wad it up and toss in the trash.

There is no timeline for sex. When you and your partner are ready, you’ll know it. Never rely on what the rest of the sexually active single population does or what they say they do. When you enter a relationship with another person, you and your partner set the schedule—no one else.

Happy weekend!



Relephant Read: 

To All the Single Ladies: 10 Tips for Dating in Your 30’s 



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Author: Rachel Astarte

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Viola Ng/Flickr

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